Lay Death at Her Door
In 1986, a man was murdered. I was beaten and raped. The ensuing trial dominated local headlines until my eyewitness testimony sent a man named Jules Jefferson to prison for life.
Lately, I’m reliving the crime. It wakes me in the small hours of the morning. My arm is yanked, and my head bangs against the car door before I’m thrown halfway across the road. Stones bite my knees and elbows, and before I can cry out, my mouth is smacked shut. Pow! My ears ring.
I sit up in bed so fast I lose my breath. My heart pounds, and my temples throb. Another memory, more recent, reeks of gun powder from a Ruger—and of blood. These crimes, the murders and the perjury, have rotted out the center of my life. They’ve also, in a more practical sense, ruined me. In the course of one summer, the fundamental fraud of my life has been exposed.
It is the end of August, and although the days are still hot, the early mornings have the chill of an advancing season. I’m wrapped in a warm shawl, sitting at my desk in the attic of this lovely old house deep in the country, ten miles outside of Lynchburg, Virginia. The window in front of me looks out to the mountains, but sunrise is another hour away, so all I see is my face reflected in the lamplight.
The one way I can see to mitigate disaster is to offer up the whole story, told as only I can tell it.
Twenty years ago, Kate Cranbrook’s eyewitness testimony sent the wrong man to prison for rape and murder. When new evidence exonerates him, Kate says that in the darkness and confusion, she must have mistaken her attacker’s identity.
She is lying.
Kate would like nothing better than to turn her back on the past, but she is trapped in a stand-off with the real killer. When a body turns up on her doorstep, she resorts to desperate measures to free herself once and for all from a secret that is ruining her life.
Elizabeth Buhmann is originally from Virginia, where her first novel is set, and like her main character, she lived several years abroad while growing up. She graduated magna cum laude from Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, and has a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh. For twenty years she worked for the Texas Attorney General as a researcher and writer on criminal justice and crime victim issues. Elizabeth now lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and dog. She is an avid gardener, loves murder mysteries, and has 2nd degree black sash in Tai Chi.